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Amazon now enforcing a 1 Kindle per account rule for libraries

And I know at least 1 librarian who will stop buying Kindles because of the new rule.

Buffy Hamilton, a school librarian at Creekview High School in Canton, Georgia, leaked Amazon’s new rule on her blog, The Unquiet Librarian, a few days ago. She’d been given a copy of the new Kindle Education Setup Guide and was perturbed by a new rule in the guide:

Amazon recommends schools register each Kindle to a single account. If you are looking for a library solution, we are working to include Kindle books in’s offering to libraries before the end of the year.

She later confirmed with a Kindle rep that this was indeed a new rule and that Amazon would enforce the rule.

Unfortunately for me, the situation isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. Buffy was given a draft copy of the new guide. Let me show you the relevant part of the current guide (PDF). The idea isn’t so unreasonable once that you understand why Amazon want libraries to do this.

Kindle was designed to automatically backup highlights, notes, and last location read. To do so, Kindle syncs wirelessly with a specific Amazon account. Therefore, Amazon strongly recommends assigning only one Kindle device per Amazon account. If, on the other hand, students share a Kindle and are reading the same book, they will see each others’ notes and be directed to the last page the other student read. This makes it very difficult to establish an individualized reading experience.

You have to admit that is a good idea. No one wants students to have to dig through someone else’s notes in order to find their own.

But it’s not good enough.  Yes, giving each Kindle its own account will block whispersync from confusing the students,  but there’s a better option.It’s simple, easy and will let you keep 6 Kindles on a single account.

You can go into the "Manage My Kindle" page and turn off Whispersync. There’s a setting down towards the bottom of the page that can be toggled on and off.

Whispersync has been around since the launch of the K2, and that was back in 2009.  I checked, and the Whispersync could be enabled and disabled from the Kindle itself. That would remove the need for separate accounts, wouldn’t it?

Given that 6 Kindles  to an account is a more convenient option for libraries, don’t you wonder why Amazon would recommend a sub-optimal solution?

I have to admit that I’m torn. I started this post with the intent to rip Amazon a new one, then flipped back and forth as I got more information. Right now I have to wonder if Amazon have a nefarious purpose here, because this rule certainly isn’t the best option.

via The Unquiet Librarian

image by Scurzuzu

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Mike Cane July 31, 2011 um 3:52 pm

>>>That would remove the need for separate accounts, wouldn’t it?

No. How do books get on the device? And syncing is what backs up the notes, bookmarks, etc.

Devices like the Kindle were never designed for multiple accounts. Amazon must fix that. So does Apple and everyone else with their damn devices too. It’s a scam to sell more hardware.

typity July 31, 2011 um 5:15 pm

Obviously, they aren’t doing it for anyone else’s benefit, but for their own: they aren’t selling Kindles, they are selling the CONTENT. So, if a library can register 100 Kindles to the same account, it means, they will buy n books. If, however, every Kindle is on a separate account, they will have to buy much more books – and its tremendously good for Amazon.
But, again, obviously, Amazon is not going to say that the new rule is there to satisfy their greed – they are going to come up with some hilarious, but noble-sounding reason, which they did.

Timothy Wilhoit August 1, 2011 um 1:37 am

It seems odd that the word "recommend" was used, not "required." I read the comments on the cited blog and there were at least two different posts indicating receiving written confirmation from Amazon that the 1:6 policy had NOT been eradicated, only a "recommendation" had been added to use 1:1. Perhaps some clarification is in order.

mischelej August 9, 2011 um 3:41 pm

To clarify, the 1:6 policy officially still holds. The 1:1 policy is only a recommendation, according to amazon. Check out the rest of the conversation on the cited blog for more details.

Nate Hoffelder August 9, 2011 um 4:08 pm

Except that my source is still insisting that she was told the 1:1 was required, not recommended.

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